FINAL (and only) UPDATE - #96
Several Pre-Story Notes:
* This will be lengthy. I didn't want to sacrifice any potentially important details that might affect answers.
* However, names and unimportant identifier details have been altered, but not so they detract from the situation.
* I have my friend's permission to post this here and ask.
* The timelines are as accurate as possible as all the text communication is timestamped on her phone.
The involved parties:
My Friend: Jane
Friend's Boyfriend: John
Dear EHellions. I have a rather heart twisting conundrum, and I'm hoping that your objective eyes will help me to figure out the best course of action.
My friend, Jane, has asked for my help on something, and while I'm rarely short on supply of opinions and "should do's", I am currently left wanting when it comes to telling her what to do about the soon-to-follow scenario.
I'm hoping that the wise and gentle people of EHell will be able to give better objective advice in general for her, and advice about how to deal with this situation as politely as possible.
Jane and John had been dating for over 14 months prior to this situation. Theirs is (was?) a serious, long-distance relationship. The kind of serious relationship where plans are made for the future. Living together, children, wedding bells, retirement together...That kind of serious. Their typical communication includes near daily texts, frequent phone calls/calls on Skype, online messaging, occasional e-mails. They do have addresses, but they don't send snail mail letters.
The trouble begins very early March of this year. It had been a few days since Jane had heard from John, so she sent him a "how are things" text, and received this back:
Text from John: A family issue has come up. I'll want to talk about it soon.
Jane texts back: Alright, dear. I hope everything's OK. Love you.
Jane waits a few days. After all, this sounds like a family emergency, best to let him handle whatever needs handling. We've all been there. Five days go by, and she doesn't hear anything from him. She's worried, but doesn't want to push the issue if he needs more time, so she sends this.
Text from Jane: Hey, it's been a few days. Do you need some more time?
The next day she receives a text from John: Hey, love. My mom is ill. I've had to head over to [Mom's Hometown] to be with her. There's not good reception here. I'll update you when I can.
So, here we have the family situation, and a technology situation. Jane texts him back that she's so sorry, and she's thinking of him and his mother, and hopes the situation turns around for the better, etc. She's sad, and completely understanding.
Another few days go by without note. Jane's sending him a daily "thinking of you" type text that is entirely normal for their relationship, but she's not expecting a swift reply, because, well... his mother is ill & bad phone reception. Then this note...
Text from John: I love you. Mom isn't doing well.
Jane replies with more understanding, and missing, and thinking of them all.
Another few days go by. Jane continues sending some messages.
Text from John: I miss you, too, love. Thanks for thinking of us.
A week goes by. More messages sent from Jane, all along the same vein, asking if there's something he'd like her to help do, etc. By this point, she's called once or twice, the phone does ring, but her calls end up going go to voice mail.
Text from John: Miss you, too. Still spending a lot of time at the hospital.
Two weeks go by. More texts from Jane. More voicemails left.
Final text from John: Things are not going well. I love you, and miss you. Will see after another surgery.
That message was sent at the beginning of April. Jane has heard nothing from John since. When I say nothing, I mean nothing. That was it.
I just checked my calendar, and that means the final... unhappy ... message that Jane received from John was well over two months ago, with only 4 sparse updates for a month beforehand.
Jane only got what you see here above for over three months. She figured his mother was very ill. He mentioned the hospital, but she had no idea it was so surgery serious. She didn't even know she had one surgery before getting the final note.
Of course, Jane didn't know this was the final note at the time she received it. For over two months she's been sending texts a few times a week, leaving voice mails, sending some e-mails. At first she was sending more, just aiming to be as supportive as possible. Now, though, she's pretty sure he's not receiving anything she sends. Her calls go straight to voice mail.
Her birthday was recently. I think the day after is when she started realizing that John dumped her, and left her to figure it out on her own. It comes down to this. Yes, his mother is ill, and yes his reception might be bad. But, two months of absolutely nothing? Not a single word or a 5 minute phone call? To the person he was going to marry? Within TWO MONTHS? Yeah, she's beginning to see that horrible light.
She feels awful. She doesn't even know how John's mother is doing. Is she still in serious condition? Is she getting better? Or has she stayed the same? Has she passed away? Jane has no idea.
So, right now, Jane is feeling a lot of things. She's sad, and angry. She's hurt, and a bit embarrassed. She's also sad for John's mother and his family who are possibly still going through things. She feels guilty for feeling sad and angry over a relationship...she says it makes her feel selfish while her boyfriend's mother is likely still on her death bed. She's also furious that their 14 month (17 month if you add in the three months of this whole thing) relationship didn't warrant a single phone call to break things off.
Here's where my confusion comes in. I can't help but be hurt when my friend is hurt. And I'm likely less sympathetic towards John than she is, or than someone outside of my friend's circle can be. So, I rationally know I'm not the one to be giving her the right advice, because it will likely be bad advice.
Kind, wise, EHellions, after all that, here's the question, and where the etiquette and how to be polite stuff comes in...
What does Jane do about this? Obviously, she's got to move on, but... she's never been in this situation before. Does she send a letter "officially" breaking things off? Or is it better/more polite to just cease communication entirely without an official break up? I know that Jane doesn't want to be that person who sends a letter that was supposed to remain in their diary, but she's not sure if dating someone for well over a year warrants a "I've been thinking of you and your family, and I wish you well. Good bye and good luck" type of note? How do you break up with someone who for all intents and purposes has already abandoned you? And, again, she's also concerned about his mother being ill/on her death bed/already dead... not to make light of a woman's illness or death, but it's like Schrodinger's Cat at this point... so she doesn't want to cause more harm to John who may still be grieving. She still loves him.
Ugh. I'm so sorry for the length. Bless all you for reading this far. I had a heckuva time trying to concisely title this... Thank you all ahead of time for any thoughts you're able to give on this. If more information is needed, I can do my best to get it to you. (Though for all I've written I can't imagine I skimmed over anything.)